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Location South Africa, Eastern Cape
Central coordinates 28o 50.00' East  30o 20.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 5,050 ha
Altitude 1,500 - 2,066m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary Matatiele town is situated in the most westerly part of southern KwaZulu-Natal. A notable feature of the landscape is the wide valley, the Cedarville Flats. Matatiele Commonage lies due south of Matatiele town, and abuts directly onto it. Most of the site is pure grassland. Rudd's Lark Heteromirafra ruddi occurs at the site.

Site description Matatiele town is situated in the most westerly part of southern KwaZulu-Natal and is bordered in the north, west and south by the Eastern Cape. A notable feature of the landscape is the wide valley, the Cedarville Flats, which runs from east to west. The valley is flanked to the north by the Drakensberg and to the south by high-lying ground, which rises above 2,000 m. Matatiele Commonage lies due south of Matatiele town, and abuts directly onto it. Most of the site is pure grassland, transitional between highland sourveld and Cymbopogon-Themeda veld. Some of the higher ridges and spurs bear a sparse Protea woodland, and sheltered drainage lines and rocky areas, protected from fire, have scrub.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Matatiele mountain holds some extremely interesting and rare high-altitude grassland birds. Heteromirafra ruddi is present. Anthus chloris is the commonest bird in the grasslands on top of the mountain. Other pipits occurring are Anthus brachyurus, A. crenatus and A. hoeschi. Some of the rocky gorges in the vicinity hold Bubo capensis, whilst above 2,000 m Saxicola bifasciata and Chaetops aurantius are common. Protea stands here, and on the edge on the mountain, hold Promerops gurneyi. Other species in the grasslands include Francolinus afer, Neotis denhami, Vanellus melanopterus and Circus maurus. Monticola explorator occur around rocky outcrops in the grassland. Gyps coprotheres and Gypaetus barbatus regularly fly over the mountain.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus resident  1998  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Black Harrier Circus maurus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Rudd's Lark Heteromirafra ruddi resident  1998  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Drakensberg Rockjumper Chaetops aurantius resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Least Concern 
Buff-streaked Chat Oenanthe bifasciata resident  1998  present  A1, A3  Least Concern 
Gurney's Sugarbird Promerops gurneyi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-breasted Pipit Anthus chloris resident  1998  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Mountain Pipit Anthus hoeschi resident  1998  present  A1, A2  Least Concern 
Drakensberg Siskin Serinus symonsi resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 high near favourable medium
Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - unintentional effects (species is not the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Energy production and mining oil and gas drilling likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Energy production and mining renewable energy likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Grassland   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable
Wetlands (inland)   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable

Heteromirafra ruddi Rudd's Lark 20 20 breeding pairs 100 favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  medium 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland)   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
nature conservation and research 100%

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Matatiele Nature Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/07/2015

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